*Updated* NICE shifts focus as COVID-19 takes priority

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has written to bodies such as the Ethical Medicines Industry Group (EMIG) to advise companies of the change in activity for the immediate future.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said:

“We have decided that we will only publish guidance topics that are either, or both

  • therapeutically critical,
  • or address COVID-19 diagnostic or therapeutic interventions

“In addition, and only to the extent that staff and other resources are available, NICE will:

  • complete, but not publish, any other technology appraisal, highly specialised technology, interventional procedure, medtech or diagnostic topic that is post final consultation
  • complete, but not publish, other guidance, standards and advice that can be undertaken without advisory committee involvement or engagement with front line health and care services staff
  • initiate or continue with, but not publish, other work, as and when staffing and other resources allow

“We have been asked, by NHS England, to produce a series of rapid guidelines on managing patients with coronavirus in a range of clinical settings. The first three topics, for patients in critical care, those on renal dialysis units and for patients undergoing chemotherapy, were published on 21 March. We expect to publish about three topics each for week for the foreseeable future.

“In addition, we are producing rapid evidence reviews on medicines used to manage COVID-19 or or its symptoms. The first topics are the short term use of NSAIDs for acute viral respiratory infection and ACE inhibitors. These reviews will be used by NHSE as the basis of commissioning policy. As we take this forward, we will agree with NHSE a set of criteria to select and prioritise further topics.”

Companies across the pharmaceutical and MedTech sectors should note how this reprioritisation might affect their plans. More information is available on the NICE website, and updated frequently, here.

27th March update: NICE added by email to stakeholders:

“Essentially all technology appraisals involving a cancer medicine are considered therapeutically critical, except for cancer drugs fund reviews. A small number of non-cancer medicines have also been designated as therapeutically critical. We will contact the stakeholders registered to individual topics and update the individual webpages with specific information as to the plans for that individual topic. Please do bear with us as we work through the extensive list of technology appraisal and highly specialised technology topics over the coming days.

“NICE staff will continue to work on developing guidance that hasn’t been considered therapeutically critical or related to COVID-19 as much as we can where it does not require committee or engagement with front line health and care service staff. Again, we will write to stakeholders registered for individual topics with more information.”

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Published on 26. March 2020 in News, News UK